the most advantages is that of the city of Omaha . . .
The plat is most beautiful and attractive . . . Several
gentlemen of capital and great influence are interested in
this new city and a regular survey and platting of premises
is now going on. Being so near Council Bluffs, the only town
of any size in western Iowa, it has many advantages as the
seat of government, and a vigorous effort is being made by
those having influence in the right quarter to secure that
object. A public square and a state house will be donated by
the company for this purpose. If it succeeds Omaha will at
once take rank as the first city in Nebraska, and if the
roads come to Council Bluffs it will, whether it becomes the
capital or not, assume an important position.
his reckoning. He could with some safety discount the
influences around him which, about two years later, diverted
the Rock Island down the Mosquito to Council Bluffs from its
intended route down Pigeon creek to a terminus at the
rock-bottom crossing opposite Florence. And while this
reason was not free from the hit-or-miss element and the
influence of the wish over the thought, yet it foreshadowed
a great economic fact. Here the railway was to precede
occupancy and growth, and so, during an exceptionally long
period of commercial and political dominance was to receive,
if not to exact, from its creatures recognition and
obeisance as the creator of the commonwealth.
the way to the occupancy of the Plains that the people
collected on the eastern bank of the Missouri river barrier
and cast a wistful eye to the Nebraska Canaan.
CHARLES H. DOWNS
Pioneer of Omaha, Nebraska
at Omaha for a reception to Governor Burt "in a style
which would have done credit to many an older place." The
committee of reception were Charles B. Smith, Alfred D.
Jones, William R. Rogers, Robert B. Whitted, Michael Murphy,
William Clancy, Samuel A. Lewis, Charles H. Downs, William
N. Byers, and William Wright. The committee of arrangements
were T. Allen, Charles B. Smith, David Lindley, Alexander
Davis, and Charles H. Downs. "Both committees will continue
in their respective stations until such time as the
governor's health will justify their action." But the
committees continued in their respective stations till, one
by one, so far as is known,
with the single exception of Charles H. Downs, they have
been summoned to follow the ruler they were to honor to the
other shore where mayhap the long prepared reception has at
last been held.
First chief justice of the supreme court of the territory of Nebraska
in the summer and fall of 1854, on the advent of the
settlers who came filled with the anticipations and hopes,
accustomed to the asperities, inured to the hardships, and
conscious of the constructive responsibilities and duties of
pioneer life. For fifty-one years after its acquisition the
land these pioneers had come to possess had been an
unorganized prairie wilderness. During all that time the
geographers had described it as a part of the Great American
Desert, unfit for agriculture -- of too arid a climate and
too lean a soil to attract or sustain any considerable
permanent civilized population.
of twenty thousand acres of college scrip, belonging to
the state of Maryland, which a friend had secured for me.
Elated at the prospect of making forty cents an acre I went
in great haste to the city of New York, and there for two
weeks labored to impress upon the minds of possible
purchasers my faith that the land would be worth five or ten
dollars an acre in ten or fifteen years. But, while they
listened to my descriptions of the soil, its possibilities
in productiveness, and my forecasts of future values, not a
man of the wealthy financiers with whom I labored, and all
of them had idle money, would buy an acre. The scheme fell
through because, in the judgment of the New Yorkers, we were
too remote from means of transportation.6
Associate justice of the first supreme court of the territory of Nebraska
guson of Michigan, chief justice; E. R. Harden of Georgia
and James Bradley of Indiana, associate justices of the
supreme court; and Mark W. Izard of Arkansas, United States
marshal. Each of the judges of the supreme court was judge
also of one of the three judicial districts.
6 Personal recollections of J. Sterling Morton.
Burt, the Omaha Arrow furnishes us at once a
strong and discriminating characterization of the pioneers
-- the more forceful and interesting because "written on the
spot," and by one of them -- and an attack on the carpet-bag
7 Laws of Nebraska, 1855-1857, p. 41.
8 Personal recollections of J. Sterling Morton.